Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I thought about doing something special on the blog for Halloween but I've decided that I'll keep it short tonight.  Hopefully everyone is having a safe and spooky Halloween weekend.  Be careful out there if you're the type that likes to perform Halloween mischief.  If you have/had any paranormal experiences while enjoying the weekend I would love to read about them.  Just leave me a comment.

Friday, October 29, 2010

No aliens, just terrorists.

So, the Pleiadians didn't show up but it seems that the mail-bombs almost did.  I will admit that I had a "Holy crap," moment when I saw the President addressing the nation on the TV today.  Then I learned that it was about potential terrorist threats.

Maybe this is a sign that the terrorists are actually aliens or the aliens are actually terrorists?  Maybe the aliens actually tipped us off to the terrorists?  I think it's far more likely that it's just a coincidence and this was another prediction that just didn't pan out.  Meeting some aliens would have been neat too.

In case you have no idea what I'm talking about, please see my previous post and also the link below.

Terror plot thwarted as US-bound explosives seized

Official Disclosure of Extraterrestrial Presence

I've seen rumors of some kind of official disclosure of extraterrestrials popping up pretty consistently for a while now.  There have been rumors going around for years, but there really seems to be a big interest in the idea now because of various movies and television shows as well as widespread publicized UFO sightings all over the globe.  "Publicized" is the operating word here.  International UFO sightings are nothing new, but the media attention is.

The election of Barack Obama to the presidency two years ago seemed to add fuel to the fire of official disclosure as well.  His campaign promises of hope and change appealed to UFO enthusiasts, it seems, and many apparently thought that official disclosure could be a part of his sweeping changes.  In the past couple of months is when all of this has stuck out to me the most though.  Stan Fulham (allegedly) even went so far as to lay down a date.

That date is October 29th, 2010.  Today.  The prediction goes that President Obama is going to announce the existence of extraterrestrials and our interaction with them.  The Pleiadians (aliens from somewhere in the Pleiades star cluster) are also supposed to make an appearance.  The original YouTube video referenced by the person I learned this from was taken down by the user and I never got to see it, so take that as you will.  Personally, I'll believe all of this when it happens.

Predictions of official disclosure or first contact are as common as predictions of the end of the world and they're about as reliable too.  Due to this chronic inaccuracy I tend to not pay much attention to them anymore.  Being as the date is upon us though, I thought I'd share it with the rest of the world and in the case it actually happens I can boast that I was in the know beforehand.  I've included a link to UFO Digest at the bottom of this post that gives some perspective on this particular prediction.  Here's to meeting our benevolent space-brothers today.

Stan Fulham's Next Alien Communique or Elaborate Hoax

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Something I learned today about Wicca.

I learned that if you really want to make Wiccans and their supporters very upset all you have to do is mention that Gerald Gardner plagiarized Aleister Crowley.  Bonus points for providing specific examples.

When I first learned about all of this plagiarism business I was very surprised.  At the same time I was rather amused.  It becomes even more amusing when you look into the deeper history of Wicca and Gerald Gardner.  This says nothing towards the validity or efficacy of that particular path, but I think maybe Wiccans should lighten up a little bit.

Wiccans can always say that the Outer Court teachings (the plagiarized stuff) are not as valid as the Inner Court teachings which are oathbound (meaning you take an oath not to reveal them).  The "real" Wicca being oathbound makes it very easy to defend it as no one is able to discuss it.  There's really nothing wrong with any of this at all until a "holier-than-thou" attitude creeps in and then, I feel, it becomes necessary to put the whole matter into perspective.

For further reading I provide the following links.  As always, feel free to leave a comment.

The Great Wicca Hoax - Part One
The Great Wicca Hoax - Part Two
The Thelemic Origins of Wicca

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Does anyone still watch ghost hunting shows?

People must still watch these shows otherwise they wouldn't be on the air, right?  There are at least half-a-dozen ghost hunting shows on various networks and I can't stand to watch any of them anymore.  I try.  I really do.  I just can't seem to find them interesting enough to bother with anymore.

Back when Ghost Hunters was a new thing I found it interesting and entertaining.  They were all about finding the answers to peoples' problems; even if those problems were just their pipes banging around.  When they actually found something strange it was even better and in those days that didn't happen that often.  My impression is that over time they started to cater more and more to the people watching the show and writing the checks rather than seeking any kind of answers.  I don't watch Ghost Hunters anymore because I find it boring.  There have also been allegations of fraud by their own members .

I thought Paranormal State was a cool show for a while.  Then I realized that ninety percent of the time it turned out to be a demon and they needed to do a full-on exorcism of the property and/or person.  This is exciting the first couple of times it happens but after a while it comes off as contrived and it looks like a desperate grab for ratings.  Do I believe that there are really this many people afflicted with demonic hauntings and possessions?  No, I don't.  That's what makes the entire show absurd to me.  Throw in a vampire, a medium, and an "occult specialist" and you've got a regular circus here.  Never mind that all of these things ostensibly contradict the Catholicism they employ to banish these nasty spirits.  I can't stand to watch this show anymore except to make fun of it.

And then there's Ghost Adventures.  The EXTREME answer to all the other shows.  Three guys lock themselves in haunted locations with camera gear and proceed to stumble around in the dark injuring themselves and freaking out like high school girls with a Ouija board.  They also look like they'd be more at home poolside in Las Vegas.  This really has nothing to do with the authenticity of their ghost hunting but it's silly to me to get gelled up and put your Affliction shirt on to run around in the dark.  I have to give these guys some credit though; they seem to do everything in their power to piss off the ghosts enough to do something.  Is this frat boy posturing?  Probably.  At least it's funny when they freak out because something actually happened when they challenged the spirits.  I've tried watching this show lately but after a while it just gets boring.

The one thing that all of these shows have in common (and there are many more than these three) is that they don't really give any answers.  There's no real innovation aside from a new ghost-finding gadget (which has its operational theory based in speculation usually).  I don't really see what these people have contributed to the field; they haven't come up with very many real answers.  It's just the same reiteration of speculation and superstition that we've heard for years.

If you're someone that is entertained by these shows then that's fine.  They ultimately are meant for entertainment.  I just wanted to get this off of my chest about the ghost hunting fad on television and I hope that I'm not the only person that has noticed these things.

SLIders and Electric/Magnetic People

A strange and somewhat recent phenomenon that I sometimes see come up is that of SLIders.  The SLI stands for "street lamp interference."  People that are SLIders report street lamps spontaneously going out when they pass near them.  This apparently happens so often that it leads them to believe it's something about them rather than just coincidence.  Some SLIders even report that watches stop and credit cards have their magnetic strips erased while in the SLIder's possession.

I can't help but wonder if perhaps this phenomenon isn't something that has existed since ancient times, going unnoticed because of the lack of electrical contraptions being literally everywhere.  Tales of electric or magnetic people are not uncommon and in my mind these phenomena are very similar to psychokinesis.  An example is that of Jennie Morgan of Sedalia, Missouri who in the 1890s was so highly charged with electricity that sparks would jump from her to nearby objects, animals would avoid her, and people that touched her were often knocked unconscious by her charge.  A similar case is that of Caroline Clare of London, Ontario.  She became charged after falling ill in 1877 and objects that came in contact with her became magnetized.  Clare was also capable of sticking cutlery to herself similar to some modern reports of "magnetic people" with the difference being that she needed another person to pull the objects off of her.

Over the years many people, both male and female, young and old, have been studied because of their extreme electromagnetic properties.  I find it peculiar how many of these cases at first resemble classic poltergeist activity and eventually develop into what would seem to be psychokinetic or telekinetic powers.  I think that this implies a connection between psychokinesis and electromagnetism.  Of course, looking into the data available on both psychokinesis and electromagnetism, one encounters a number of difficulties with this explanation.  The primary problem being that it seems impossible for people to emit, let alone control, that much electrical energy.

It's interesting to note that some SLIders report that their incidents occur during times of stress or emotional upset.  In the classic cases of electric people and magnetic people we find those that acquired these abilities after falling severely ill and then recovering.  These correlations, while interesting, do very little to reveal the secret of what's actually going on here.  This problem is made even more unassailable by the usual difficulty of these phenomena typically being beyond the conscious control of the person.  This obviously makes it very hard to study under laboratory conditions.

I like to think that I've had some SLIder experiences of my own, but they are sporadic and could very well be coincidences.  This doesn't deter me from trying to figure the whole thing out though.  If you've ever had a SLIder experience let me know in the comments.  Your input is welcome.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Hollow Earth

The notion that the Earth is hollow or contains a vast subterranean space is not something you hear about much in the modern era.  Everything we think we know about the way things work seems to speak against the notion of the Hollow Earth Hypothesis.  Still, this idea has inspired much fiction and my understanding is that to this day people still plan expeditions to the Hollow Earth.

Folklore and mythology from all over the world speaks of realms below the earth containing creatures and beings that seem rather strange to us modern secular surface-dwellers.  It is not known by many that there are vast cave and tunnel systems running underneath large areas of the planet.  Some of these are man-made tunnels and others are natural caves.  These systems are huge and, to my knowledge, mostly unexplored.

It is thought by some that the poles of the Earth are actually lipped holes that lead to the hollow interior of our planet.  Strange phenomena reported by early polar explorers are cited in support of this idea as well as some modern physical anomalies.  Some feel that the interior of the Earth is a more likely place for UFOs to come from than outer space.  The Hollow Earth also provides an explanation for why some cryptids are only occasionally sighted and cannot be found.  If Big Foot is returning to an underground habitat then it makes perfect sense that no amount of surface exploration would lead to its discovery.  There is also an apparent link between faults in the Earth's crust and mysterious creatures and strange lights.

I am no stranger to the rumors of extraterrestrial underground bases and it seems that this could tie into the idea of the Hollow Earth as well.  The idea that a reptilian race of advanced creatures lives beneath the surface of the planet is a staple of UFO/alien folklore and some have even claimed to have made contact with these creatures, usually seen as malevolent entities.  Whether these reptilians are extraterrestrials taking up residence or an older race native to Earth is not something that anyone seems to be able to say for sure.  I find the entire idea of the Hollow Earth to be fascinating and I'm apparently not alone.

As to whether the Earth is actually hollow or not...  That's not something I can say.  The scientific establishment says that it's not possible; we know the structure of the Earth and how it was formed.  Yet still the idea of a Hollow Earth continues to survive to the present.  I can see why given the revelation that real-time weather satellite data above the 60th parallel is not available to the public, or so I'm told.  If you would like to read more about the Hollow Earth then please see the links below.  If you have any further information regarding the Hollow Earth then please leave a comment.

Wikipedia on the Hollow Earth.
Lots of articles on the Hollow Earth from

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Power of Objects

Do objects have power or do we give them power?  In many forms of magic there is emphasis on using particular objects to focus or direct metaphysical energies.  Could these things be done without the tools?  Most likely, I think.  The tool merely serves as a kind of key to unlock what our minds can already do.  So do objects have innate power or is it all in our heads?

Does a candle's flame hold more power than a light bulb?  I'm inclined to say that it does.  I feel that a flame holds more connection to the Fire element and all of the archetypal powers that it represents.  But is that why it has power, because I think that it does?  Does it have power because of its associations and symbolism in my mind?  I think that there are a lot of deep subjects I could go into with this but I want to narrow the field a bit.

I feel that magic and parapsychology are just two different ways of looking at the same phenomenon.  In parapsychology the emphasis is on anomalous effects that are directly observable, ostensibly coming from the subject.  There is more freedom in the practice of magic as the force behind the magic often has more freedom to operate and is not bound by strict parameters, capable of taking whatever path is necessary to bring about the desired change.  Magic seems to be more impersonal whereas abilities like ESP and PK almost have to be personal by their very nature.  In both cases though, I think that the energy and force behind the feats comes from within the person

I think that in some instances of magic it is the person's own power being allowed to manifest rather than objects having power in and of themselves.  I think that the object acts like a key to unlock the safeguards on the subconscious mind.  The power of the subconscious mind is thought by some to be enormous (even limitless).  I can say from my own experience with ESP and PK that the subconscious mind seems to play some part in how these abilities work.  I think this also explains the sometimes erratic manifestation and accuracy of these abilities.

When it comes to magic there is little conscious effort to control the powers of the subconscious.  The magic is performed consciously and it is turned loose for the powers that be to manifest the desire in any way they see fit.  In my view, fewer limits on the subconscious means more paths for it to do what you want it to do.  The conscious act spurs the subconscious mind into action but in a less direct way than "Read his thoughts," or "Move that object."  Magic usually has a much less strict time frame as well.

I think that by turning over the power to something like an object or a deity, we remove ourselves from the equation enough to not stand in our own way when it comes to harnessing the power of our minds.  Perhaps this is for the best, this mental safeguard.  Imagine what the world would be like if every conscious whim were manifested?  It seems to me that it might be a very scary place.

Maybe it's not the carvings and the sigils or the symbolism and the ritual that is powerful but the person using these things that holds all the power.  Perhaps all these things do is allow the person to unleash their full potential?  What about psychometry then?  Psychometry is the ability to read the history of an object through psychic means because of the emotional and energetic imprints left on the object by people that are in close contact with it. 

So objects can hold energy and impressions, but can objects hold their own power?  If they do then perhaps it is power that has been imprinted by human beings that can be picked up by other human beings, similar to telepathy between individuals only with an object as the go-between.  Perhaps magical objects or enchanted objects can pass their powers on to others because of suggestions planted in the mind of the new owner or because of unconscious reading of the object through psychometry.  From this suggestion the new owner's mind would take over where the last owner left off.

These are just some thoughts I've had while comparing parapsychology with magic.  I would appreciate any thoughts from the more magically inclined on this subject.  Let me know if I'm out of line or on to something with a comment.  If nothing else, I find this interesting to think about and hopefully you do too.  See you next time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Ouija Board

Most of us have heard horror stories about dabbling with a spirit board (more commonly known as a Ouija board).  The stories all tell of how the board opens a doorway between our world and another and allows for evil spirits and demons to come through.  I've played with a Ouija board a few times and I have no reason to believe that there is any truth to this.  I feel that spirit boards are tools similar to divination devices such as Tarot cards and pendulums.  Whatever is on your mind is likely to be what you'll get with a Ouija board (if you get anything at all) and the movements seem to come from the ideomotor effect.

I would like to go a little deeper into this though.  While the Ouija board may be nothing more than a toy, could it be used to contact spirits?  I'm thinking in the same vein as channeling and automatic writing (neither of which do I have any experience in at this time).  Let's say that an individual allows themselves to be put into a trance similar to how a channeling or automatic writing session would begin.  Could that person then channel a spirit's communications through the board rather than through their own mouth or hand?  Obviously this would still depend on the person being the go-between, but it could lend some credence to the idea of the spirit board being a communication tool with the beyond.

Of course, the truth of any of this would lie in the ability to produce verifiable information that the "medium" could not know through normal means, just like in a channeling or automatic writing session.  This potential could perhaps be why the Ouija board continues to generate tales of bringing spirits into a home, much to the dismay of the inhabitants.  Are these actually spirits though?

What if the individuals merely being open to the idea of channeling spirits from beyond allows them to unlock abilities of their own?  I've mentioned in a previous blog how poltergeists are now believed to be recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis.  Perhaps occurrences of any strange happenings in a home or presences felt or information spontaneously gained are actually coming from the living person and not an outside entity?  Sometimes being open to something is all it takes to allow it to happen.

These are just some ideas I've come up with and I make no claims as to their validity but I try to look at things from several different perspectives.  If any of you have any ideas or stories about your own Ouija experiences then let me know in the comments.  I might even have to dust off my Ouija board and give it a try again.  Also, be sure to check out the new poll on the right.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Psychics and World Governments

It should come as no surprise to students of the paranormal that the governments of the world have an interest in utilizing psychic powers for their own ends.  This first seemed to take precedence during the Cold War.  While there was a space race and a nuclear arms race going on between the United States and the Soviet Union, there was also a kind of psychic arms race.  The story goes that a French hoax about the US using telepathy to communicate with submarines sparked the Soviets to delve into parapsychology in order to keep up.  The rise of Soviet psi research meant that the US had to do the same thing in order to keep up with Soviet advances.

There was an increase of interest in researching parapsychology by both countries going as far back as (at least) the 1970s.  The Soviets seemed to be just as advanced as the Americans when it came to the psi war, if not more so.  The telekinetic Nina Kulagina comes to mind when I think of Soviet psi research.  When I think of American psi research I think of Ingo Swann and the work done at Stanford Research Institute.  The work done at SRI led to the creation of a group of psychic spies that worked for the US military and intelligence services.

The story of how the US military developed remote viewing as an espionage tool is one that has been told over and over so I won't recount it here.  An Internet search of "remote viewing" or related terms is sure to yield a wealth of information and there are a lot of books on the market that detail the story.  For our purposes I am more interested in what the present state of psi is in connection with world governments.  This piece from the American Chronicle suggests that after the CIA remote viewing program was canceled in 1995 there was another post-9/11 NSA psychic program.  This leads one to wonder what else the government might be doing in the realm of the paranormal since publicly outing and discrediting the remote viewing program just 15 years ago.

For years I've heard rumors of the government using psychics for everything from security to assassinations as well as rumors of gifted individuals being picked up by the government and never heard from again.  To this day I still consider all of this to be rumor as I have never seen any corroborating evidence.  However, I can't help but to think that there could be something to it.  If there are individuals that are particularly gifted then I can see why the government might want to "recruit" them.  I can see how it would be useful to use psychic operatives to accomplish missions or acquire information because there is always the element of deniability.  Most people don't believe that these things are even possible and simply scoff at the notion.  What better weapon could there be than one that no one believes even exists?

If the reports out of China of individuals that can teleport objects with their minds are true (as mentioned in my previous blog post) and the US continues to use remote viewers then one can only imagine what abilities might have been developed after decades of research.  Until there is more disclosure it seems that all we can do is imagine.  What are our minds really capable of?  Should we be concerned about literal thought police?  Where can I sign up for the Psi Corps?

If you would like to read more about the remote viewing program of the United States Military then please see this paper by Commander L. R. Bremseth.  It really is a fascinating read and a good primer for someone new to the subject.  I hope that it tides you over until next time.  Take care until then.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Super-Sargasso Sea and Teleportation

The Super-Sargasso Sea is where all the things that disappear go to.  Charles Fort postulated this place as an explanation of where things go when they mysteriously disappear and where things come from when they mysteriously appear.  It's questionable as to whether Fort really believed in the Super-Sargasso Sea, but he was very interested by the force of teleportation that he felt caused a great deal of the strange phenomena that he wrote about.

From what I've read of the strange phenomena that Charles Fort documented, this teleportation force seems to be a natural force taking place on this planet with the ability to cause something to disappear without a trace or spontaneously appear with no explanation.  Spontaneous showers of frogs and toads, hollows filled with water that never empty, stones and other missiles hurled from nowhere and similarly disappearing afterward, people that disappear without a trace only to be deposited in a far away place (or never seen again); all of these things seem to relate to a teleportation force.

Teleportation has been the fodder of fiction for decades and there have been great strides in making it a reality through applying some of the stranger aspects of quantum mechanics such as quantum entanglement.  Scientists are now able to take the characteristics of one particle and teleport them to another particle.  Obviously we are still a long way from being beamed from place to place in an instant.  Or are we?  All of our technology has resulted from us gaining the ability to manipulate naturally occurring phenomena.  But what if we don't need technology to do it?

About a year ago I became aware of a study on teleportation commissioned by the United States Air Force.  A lot of the study discussed various ways to manipulate quantum mechanics in order to move an object from one place to another instantly.  The very last section of the paper was what I found most intriguing.  The author waits until the last section to discuss "p-teleportation" or teleportation through psychic means.  He discusses cases of Chinese children that are capable of causing objects to disappear from one place and appear in another seemingly through the power of their minds alone, all under laboratory conditions.  This ability even seems to extend to living creatures.

In light of this, the idea of a Super-Sargasso Sea and a teleportation force that occasionally (and seemingly randomly) spirits people away and sometimes returns them doesn't seem so far-fetched.  Does this mean that there is more to the idea of the Super-Sargasso Sea than Fort perhaps realized when he suggested the idea?  Perhaps the Super-Sargasso Sea will be remembered as an archaic name for a fourth spatial dimension that objects can move through without the limitations we know as three-dimensional beings.  Maybe the Super-Sargasso is better thought of as another dimension allowing for miraculous events and circumstances to occur in our three-dimensional world.  I can only hope that future breakthroughs will provide better understanding.

That some of the stranger Fortean phenomena might be caused by human beings and not some impersonal force of nature is a profound idea.  Like the idea that poltergeist activity originates from the uncontrolled psychokinetic outbursts of a distressed person, maybe instances of stones being hurled from nowhere and frogs falling from the sky are the result of unrestrained teleportation abilities.  This is certainly something to consider when discussing these strange occurrences.

With that I'll leave you to consider what we really might be capable of when we focus our minds.  If you would like to view the USAF teleportation study I mentioned you can find the .pdf here.  I highly suggest taking a look if psychic abilities and teleportation interest you as much as they interest me.  I'll try not to disappear into the ether before next time.  If I do I'll bring back a souvenir.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Skepticism and the paranormal.

If you're a student of the paranormal then seeing the word "skeptic" probably causes you to recoil a bit.  Skeptics are seen as those debunkers and deniers for which no evidence is good enough.  I am pleased to inform you that these people are not skeptics.  These people give skepticism a bad name.

For your consideration here is a definition:

skepticism (uncountable)

   1. (US) The practice or philosophy of being a skeptic.
   2. (US) A studied attitude of questioning and doubt
   3. (US) The doctrine that absolute knowledge is not possible
   4. (US) A methodology that starts from a neutral standpoint and aims to acquire certainty though scientific or logical observation.
   5. (US) Doubt or disbelief of religious doctrines
(From Wiktionary.)

To me, the overall meaning of skepticism, based on this definition, is that of one that considers evidence and then makes a decision accordingly.  This means not jumping to conclusions and, most importantly, not dismissing something out of hand.  It is unfortunate that modern skepticism has been co-opted by dogmatic thinkers who are no better than the dogmas they are so proud of opposing.  I tend to think of modern skepticism as making a negative assumption, whereas belief is a positive assumption.  They're still both assumptions though.  Belief is "Mental acceptance of a claim as truth regardless of supporting empirical evidence." (Again from Wiktionary.)

If a negative assumption is a belief just the same as a positive assumption then what is the difference?  Well, as any skeptic will be sure to point out, the burden of scientific proof is on the person making the claim and they are exempt from this because a negative cannot be proven.  This leads me to my point:  If a negative cannot be proven, why hold a negative assumption about something?  To make a claim and then fail to back it up without any evidence sounds ridiculous to those that are expected to believe it no matter what the claim is (unless those people have faith).  If there is no evidence to support a positive claim then there is obviously no evidence to support the negative claim either.  So why assume the negative position?  Why not simply say "I don't know," or "We don't know"?

In the case of paranormal claims that have some evidence, whether it be eyewitnesses, photographs, videos, etc. the "neutral" claim is that it must be trickery or illusion.  Why?  This is not to say that all such things should be believed because many of these things do turn out to be frauds or hoaxes, or less sinisterly, misunderstood natural phenomena or optical illusions.  Perhaps this is why some people immediately jump to the conclusion that all such activity is fake.  This is perhaps not so bad.  The bad part is that when a natural explanation is not forthcoming and no evidence of trickery or illusion is discovered, the pseudoskeptics still cry hoax.  What is the difference between this kind of clinging to faith and the clinging to faith of one who continues to believe in a proven fraud?

Then we have events that are seemingly supernatural but can be replicated by trickery.  We can present a scene from the Civil War on the big screen, complete with big-budget CGI.  It looks like the Civil War but it is not the genuine article.  Some propose that the telekinetic feats of Nina Kulagina can be replicated with string.  Big deal.  Knowledge of the principles of multiplication can be replicated by simply memorizing multiplication tables.  My point is that just because something can be emulated through trickery does not mean that it was trickery to begin with.

We must also take into account how many things are known to exist that were previously unknown to us because of the limits to our knowledge and technical capability.  X-rays were once denounced as a hoax by Lord Kelvin but with more demonstrations X-rays became accepted and understood and now the majority of people have some understanding of something that perplexed the greatest minds of that time.  Did X-rays not exist before they were demonstrated?  While a possibility, this seems unlikely and I think most self-styled skeptics would agree.

A key tenet of the scientific method is that a hypothesis must be falsifiable.  You must be able to show that the hypothesis is true or false in definitive terms.  I can say that the entire universe is contained within an invisible snow globe, but there is no way to prove this.  This is not a testable hypothesis and therefore not a valid one as it doesn't allow us to gain any further knowledge or understanding.  The lack of existence of something is not testable, so how can we say with any certainty that something does not exist?  At best we can say that it has not been conclusively proven to exist.  The belief that something does not exist because we can't detect it is just that:  a belief.  It is an assumption upheld by faith.  It is impossible to prove a nonexistence, so how can any skeptic possibly claim with certainty that something is nonexistent?

I am not advocating credulity.  I am also not advocating denial.  I'm fully aware that nothing I've written here will stop the ongoing battle between believers and nonbelievers.  My intention is to get you to think about why you believe the things you believe.  There is nothing wrong with belief, but we must be prepared to examine our beliefs as objectively as we possibly can from our subjective human perspective.  This includes accepting that sometimes that awesome ghost photo or that UFO sighting is a fake or a hoax.

If you would like to read more eloquent observations on skepticism and the paranormal then please see this article written by the true skeptic Marcello Truzzi.  I believe you will like it.  If you would like to report your thoughts on what I've written above then leave me a comment below.  See you next time.

If you believe in telekinesis raise my hand.

Telekinesis (or psychokinesis, as I prefer to call it) is, in my opinion, the holy grail of psychic ability.  There has been a lot more scientific research into extra-sensory perception (ESP) than there has been into psychokinesis (PK).  Most "How To" books on psychic abilities don't even provide a definition of psychokinesis, let alone instructions on how to make progress toward acquiring the ability.  There has been recent work in studying micro-PK, or psychokinesis acting on microscopic (even quantum) systems such as random number generators.  While interesting, these test results are not particularly convincing.  Certainly they are not as convincing as the feats of Russian psychic Nina Kulagina (shown in the video above).  The story of Nina Kulagina is a very interesting one and PK was not her only feat.  It was the one she is most famous for, however.

Accusations of trickery aside, I find cases like Kulagina's to be very convincing and not just because objects are moving.  Physical tests were allegedly done on Kulagina throughout her stint of performing PK and they revealed some very interesting things were occurring with her body.  These things included, but were not limited to, exhaustion, shallow pulse, weight loss during her PK sessions, irregular heart beat, high blood sugar, and a disturbed endocrine system.  It's believed by some that the strain of performing PK so often contributed to her death.  At this point I would like to note that Nina Kulagina is not the only well-known telekinetic.  I mention her here because of her popularity which is perhaps rivaled by only Uri Geller (who's surrounding controversy is an entirely different subject).

Personally, out of all psychic phenomena, I find PK to be the most interesting and ostensibly the easiest to verify.  It seems to me that it should be a lot easier to determine if someone is moving something with their mind or using tricks than if they are reading someone's mind or just making some lucky guesses.  I also find it interesting because it's just damn cool.  To me it seems like telepathy or precognition are relatively benign when compared to the ability to move things around with your mind, even if they are just matchsticks and compasses.

There are many theories about how PK might be possible or how a person may perform it but as you might expect there is no published experimental evidence to support these theories.  None that I'm aware of, anyway.  Any correlations between physical phenomena and psychic activity seem to apply to ESP alone, probably because that seems to be the area of psi research that has the most data.  The only relevant correlation that I'm aware of is produced by Wilkinson and Gauld in their observation that there is a small tendency for the days of onset of poltergeist and haunting cases to coincide with days of higher-than-usual geomagnetic activity.  While incredibly interesting, it is not very enlightening as to what allows for psychokinesis to take place.

So this is the challenge with psychokinesis.  There is no accepted theory and no experimental evidence to back up any one theory.  Most, if not all, demonstrations of psychokinesis are either proven to be frauds or are accused of being frauds because of the distaste for psi in the first place.  Combine this with the lack of funding available for parapsychology research and we have a very complex (and difficult) puzzle.

I happen to believe that many cases of "poltergeist" activity actually emanate from a living human being.  The contemporary term for "poltergeist" activity is "recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis" or RSPK.  I think this reflects the change in thinking toward poltergeist activity.  Many cases of alleged poltergeists seem to surround particular people and abate when the psychological issues of these people are resolved or the individuals reach the end of puberty.

Personally, I'm a believer in PK.  I've had enough personal experiences to be convinced of the reality of PK.  This doesn't mean that I'm any closer to solving the riddle of how it works or how to perform it though.  If you are interested in more information about Nina Kulagina or about learning psychic abilities then please see the links below.  Take care until next time, and if you happen to discover the secret to mastering telekinesis do be sure to share it with me in a comment.

More on Nina Kulagina.
A website with many articles related to learning psychic abilities.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shifting shadows or "shadow people."

Hang around paranormal circles long enough (or even watch paranormal television shows for longer than ten minutes) and you'll probably hear about "shadow people."  Shadow people are exactly what they sound like:  They are shadows that look like people that are entities in their own right.  There are many theories about shadow people and many explanations of what they are.

Suppose you're just hanging out, doing whatever you would normally be doing at a certain time of day, when you see what appears to be a person standing in your peripheral vision.  Your natural inclination is to turn in that direction to see who it is, right?  When you turn to catch a glimpse of this person no one is there.  No one is even in the vicinity.  Sometimes you might even actually see the figure slink away into the shadows or around the corner, never to be discovered.  Most people have probably had an experience similar to this before.  Personally, I've had a few experiences like this, mostly with smaller shadows though.  Shadow "bugs" or shadow "mice."  I'll turn to see what it is and there isn't actually anything there.

I fully acknowledge that a lot of these experiences of mine are probably just fatigue, insomnia, and tricks of the eyes.  Those of you that read the timestamps on my blogs should find it unsurprising that I'm usually up at the wee hours and this is most often when I have such experiences.  I won't go into the scientific reasons why the eyes can trick us in this way; I'll only acknowledge that there are perfectly rational explanations for some "shadow people" experiences.

All of this in mind, I have had one experience that I cannot immediately chalk up to tricks of the eye.  The most startling shadow person experience that I have ever had occurred perhaps two years ago.  It was late at night, I had just brushed my teeth, and I was about to retire to my room but I was looking back into the rest of the first floor of the house to make sure the lights were off before I went to the stairs.  I stood in the darkened living room looking down the night-lighted hallway into the kitchen.  As I stood there for those few seconds a shadow suddenly appeared on the lighted hallway wall, a shadow vaguely human shaped and sized.  This shadow did not stay still for long, immediately moving along the wall and off into the darkness.  This would not have been so startling to me if I hadn't been standing still the entire time, surveying the kitchen to make sure the lights were off.  This solidified in my mind that it was not my shadow.

There could be a rational explanation for my encounter but I'm unable to come up with one.  This said, I'm also unable to come up with a paranormal conclusion about the experience.  I was admittedly tired when this happened, but I have never had a fatigue-induced shadow appear in the center of my field of vision and then move off into the shadows.  I do think it should be noted that there have been some somewhat unexplainable occurrences in my house, but I generally attribute most of them to settling, wind, and other natural phenomena as the house is over a century old.  There is a door that used to mysteriously come open no matter how well you made sure it was closed (it no longer has this problem).  Sometimes there would be a mysterious sound coming from outside that sounded exactly like a ball being bounced on the driveway when no one (and no ball) was there.  That particular phenomenon hasn't occurred, to my knowledge, for at least several months.  There are countless creaks, groans, moans, and thuds that occur in my home everyday (most notably at night, probably due to it being more noticeable during the quiet hours).  I make no claims of living in a haunted house, but strange things do occasionally happen.  This shadow person encounter was by far the strangest and most inexplicable.

So, what are shadow people?  This often depends on who you ask.  A popular theory I see often is that shadow people are supernatural entities that feed on negative energy.  I'm not a ghost hunter, just a paranormal researcher.  Ghosts and shadow people and other such things are not a primary area of interest to me but I have looked into those subjects a bit.  When it comes to shadow people, it seems that anyone is free to come up with just about any explanation they want.  I can't claim to know what causes the most drastic cases of shadow people or other shadow phenomena, but I do have some ideas.

I do not think that shadow people are deceased humans, if they are indeed real entities and not just illusions.  In my research of encounters with what are ostensibly deceased humans I can't recall a mention of the deceased appearing in a shadow form.  When taking a form at all, the deceased seem to always take a form close to the stereotypical vision of the ghost:  That of an ethereal, transparent, replica of the person as they were in life.  I do acknowledge that I have not examined every case of spirit communication ever though.

I do not think that shadow people are demons, or at the very least, not dangerous demons.  I am speaking of demons in the popular sense:  A malevolent supernatural entity that preys upon mankind; an evil spirit.  I feel that if shadow people are demons they would not make themselves so apparent and would not be so obvious.  Shadow people also do not fit with typical tales of demonic activity that I have encountered.  Usually, when a malevolent entity is attacking someone, the entity is completely invisible to human eyes.  Shadow people, overall, seem to be rather indifferent to human beings, choosing to simply observe from a distance rather than interact.  It's not uncommon to see reports of people claiming to be watched by shadow people.  I'm unaware of any case of shadow people actually causing harm or attacking anyone.  In my opinion, this means that the idea of shadow people being malevolent entities (or at least overtly malevolent entities) is out.

What do I think shadow people are?  I think that they (if they exist at all) are probably benign non-human spiritual entities.  In my view, they are a natural part of the greater picture similar to the idea of nature spirits.  They seem to me to be just as natural as human beings or trees; they are just another part of the world that we inhabit, albeit not as well understood as the other examples.  This is, of course, just my opinion.  I don't claim to hold the absolute truth about much of anything, especially not something as seemingly unverifiable as the phenomenon of shadow people.

If you have ever experienced shadow people (or shadow critters of any kind) then you probably have your own ideas about what they are.  I'm always interested in hearing new ideas so feel free to drop me a comment and let me know what you think.  If you're someone better versed in the subject then feel free to correct me on anything I may have wrong here.  All I have to go on is my limited experience and what research I've done.

That's all until next time.  I won't think less of you if you leave the light on.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Extraterrestrials as demons?

UFOlogy is a very deep and complex subject and I expect to discuss various aspects of it as I post more blog entries.  The specific topic I'm going to focus on now however is the view that what are commonly seen as extraterrestrials and their spacecraft are actually demons.  To clarify, I mean demons in the sense that most of Christianity knows them (and demons are a whole topic all by themselves).  I'm talking about malevolent supernatural entities, commonly seen as the antithesis of angels.

I think I was first introduced to the idea that extraterrestrials (aliens, if you will) are actually demons about eight or so months ago at a UFO/Paranormal lecture.  The speaker was a religious man, having gone to divinity school if I'm not mistaken.  Since I don't get the opportunity to attend such lectures very often I thought I'd check it out even if I thought it was a little strange that someone with that background claimed to be a paranormal scholar of this variety.  Without going into too much detail (this story could provide a completely separate blog post of its own), about halfway through the night the speaker began to "get down to business," so to speak.

At this point we had discussed predominantly UFOs and extraterrestrials, covering all the major bases of the UFO/alien lore.  Then this lecturer dropped a bit of a bomb on me.  He suggested something that seemed completely strange and absurd to me at the time because it seemed very foreign to my way of thinking.  He suggested that aliens were not actually creatures from another planet and that they were actually demons.  Malevolent spiritual entities taking the form of "aliens" in order to corrupt and damn us.  I won't go into all of the intricacies of this because I honestly can't.  At this point the night seemed to take a more evangelical turn and that had me in something of a squirm-in-your-seat kind of uneasiness that lasted until I left the building.  That said, this lecturer brings to mind an interesting suggestion.

Typing this now, I remember seeing references to extraterrestrials (or at least the "bad" ones) as being evil, followers of Satan, working against God, etc. prior to this lecture but I can't recall someone ever stating that ETs were literal demons taking form to torment and deceive mankind before this.  While studying Fortean lore, I came across the concept of one being taken away and brought back by fairies.  Again, fairies may even merit their own individual blog post; there's a lot more to fairies than Tinkerbell.  Anyway, when looking over these accounts, there are a lot of similarities between ancient encounters with fairies and modern encounters with UFOs/aliens, abduction being just one of the commonalities.  Could extraterrestrials be supernatural entities rather than flesh and blood creatures from other planets?

Everything we claim to know through science suggests that it is very, very unlikely that extraterrestrials are visiting or ever have visited Earth.  The vastness of space and the technology required make the possibility of aliens visiting our planet a very slim one indeed.  This is what science tells us.  But what if the "aliens" are already here?  There are a number of avenues to go from this question, but for the purpose of this post I'm going to choose the fairy folk/demon avenue.  Suppose these entities are supernatural beings, mostly native to our planet (or at least our general level of existence) that have been here as long as we have or longer.  What if only our perception of them has changed?  In the past it was fairies and magic; in the modern age it is extraterrestrials and spacecraft.  Perhaps this is how we rationalize these experiences in the the current age.

None of this really sheds any new light on the subject of UFOs/aliens and I'm certainly not the first person to propose this line of thinking, but it does give one something else to consider.  Personally, I'm on the fence.  I'm convinced of the reality of the UFO phenomenon but I have absolutely no idea what is behind it, whether it's extraterrestrials, fairies, demons, Earth energies, or any of the other less-than-conventional ideas.  I can't throw down an opinion one way or another.  Maybe you can though.

Let me know what you think in the comments or use the poll to the right.  Or you can do both if you're so inclined.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's that time of year.

It's getting to be close to Halloween and I find this as appropriate a time as any to kick off my new blog.  It's the time of year when all of the paranormal documentaries are on the various documentary channels and when the plethora of ghost hunting shows do either live shows or run marathons.  And let's not forget all of the vampire media that is out there either.  Witches seem to have taken a backseat in recent years as people claiming religious beliefs related to witchcraft traditions have made the idea less spooky and more normal.  Witch is no longer a classification of supernatural creature but a title taken by those that practice pagan faiths and work magic.

 Personally, I find ghosts and vampires to be the two most trite subjects when it comes to the paranormal.  This isn't to say that ghosts don't hold a very important place in the study of the paranormal.  Understanding the nature of ghosts and spirits could be one of the most important undertakings of mankind as it could give us some inkling of what to expect when we close our eyes for the final time.  I'll get to this later.

Then there are vampires who have come out of the darkness because of a recent novel and film series I won't mention.  What many people don't know is that there is a community of real-life "vampires" that are on the verge of bringing their community into a more respected public light.  The subject of real vampires, or Human Living Vampires (HLVs), is so broad that I could devote an entire blog to that subject alone.  You can probably expect posts specifically devoted to the vampire community on future dates.

Back to ghosts now.  I think that the area of parapsychology known as "survival studies" is very important and isn't necessarily given enough respect.  As little respect as ESP researchers get, survival researchers probably get even less.  This is odd considering that in the days of the founding of the Society for Psychical Research survival of the human being beyond death was a major topic of interest.  This said, it was a whole lot easier to investigate claims of spirits communicating secret information between parties then as there were no telephones or other rapid communications such as the Internet.  There were no fancy electronic gizmos or even electricity during the age of widespread mediumship and spiritualism.

I think that now serious survival researchers have to deal with all the noise surrounding television ghost hunters and paranormal investigators.  It's hard to be taken seriously when the public perception of ghosts, spirits, or survival after death is that of a group of young people, some looking less than professional, running around in abandoned buildings after dark filming themselves being scared.  An attempt to validate this vocation by the introduction of electronic devices such as EMF detectors may work for some people but this author doesn't really see the relevance.  I suppose my main problem with these types of shows is that the approach doesn't ever seem to gain any answers.  These "investigators" may be able to tell you whether your home is haunted in an hour or less, but they provide very few answers about what happens when we die, if ghosts are deceased people or something else, the mechanisms of how ghosts interact with our world, etc.  All of this without even going into the accusations of faking evidence for ratings.

I think that the real ground to be gained in this area is in the study of near death experiences, out-of-body experiences, and the similarities between these experiences as related by those experiencing them.  I think that the laboratory is where we'll find the answers and while there is value in field investigation of spontaneous occurrences...  I think the popularization and trappings that have been attached to field investigation by popular media is detrimental.  That's just the opinion of someone that's never done a field investigation of a haunted locale before though, so take it for what it's worth.

I think that the popularization of ghost hunting has also been detrimental to the younger people that have an interest in the paranormal.  I'm sure it's no mystery that kids like to watch TV more than they like to read and, when given a choice, I think most people would rather read fiction than nonfiction.  My point is that the younger generation is getting all of their information from television ghost hunters and haunted locations documentaries (or fictional teen romances).  This means that those of us that have been researching away from the TV have to deal with people taking every creak in their home or shadow in their peripheral vision as a ghost.  I'm not saying that it couldn't have been a ghost, but I think that some critical thinking should be used to temper seemingly inexplicable happenings.

I've experienced my fair share of inexplicable things (that's one of the reasons I'm so passionate about the paranormal).  However, I make it a point to try not to jump to conclusions about what happened.  I try to look at all of the mundane reasons before I cry "Ghost!" (Or whatever else my mind might immediately jump to.)   Sometimes there just isn't an obvious rational explanation though.  Just as often there isn't enough evidence to say that a deceased human being is hanging around in the attic.  I like to find a happy medium in most areas of my life and a little bit of critical thinking is how I do that with my paranormal interests.  That's all I ask when dealing with the paranormal if those of us that are serious about the subject ever expect to have the fields of parapsychology and paranormal research taken seriously.

If you've made it this far then thank you for reading my first entry.  If you have feedback then please leave a comment!